Game Show Network: Wikis

  
  

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Game Show Network, LLC (GSN)
GSN logo.svg
Launched December 1, 1994
Owned by Liberty Media and Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Game Show Network, LLC)
Slogan "Play Every Day"
Headquarters Culver City, California, U.S.
Website Official Website
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV Channel 309
Dish Network Channel 116
Cable
Rogers Cable (Canada) Channel 287
TELUS TV Channel 175

GSN (formerly known on-air as Game Show Network) is an American cable television and direct broadcast satellite channel dedicated to game shows and casino game shows. The channel was launched on December 1, 1994. Its slogan is "Play Every Day".[1] The network is currently available in approximately 72 million homes, and is jointly-owned by Liberty Media[2] and Sony Pictures Entertainment.[3]

Contents

History

1994–1997

Game Show Network went live at 7:00 PM on December 1, 1994.[4] The first aired game show was Match Game '73. From 1994 until about 1997, the network aired pre-1972 classics as well as post-1972 game shows, most from the Mark GoodsonBill Todman library. The network aired game shows in a 24-hour cycle, and also used live interstitial programming to wrap around the shows. In the first few months, GSN's commercials consisted of public service announcements (PSAs), GSN promos and commercials related to Sony, the parent company of the network. Once the network became bigger, traditional commercials were added to the network as they gained new sponsors.

1997-1998

From October 11, 1997 to April 18, 1998 the network's Goodson-Todman library rights expired, with the exceptions of The Price is Right (despite a lack of Goodson-Todman games, the network never aired any episodes of the 1970s syndicated version) and the 1994-1995 season of Family Feud, which were both on a separate contract. This was known to many fans as the "Dark Period".

With the other Goodson-Todman shows gone, lesser-known Sony properties such as Juvenile Jury, The Diamond Head Game, the 1976-1977 version of Break The Bank, and the Bill Cullen-hosted games Chain Reaction and Pass The Buck all found their ways onto the schedule.

Game Show Network also aired a children's game show block at this time, highlighted by Joker! Joker! Joker!, Jep!, and Wheel of Fortune 2000—adaptations of The Joker's Wild, Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune, respectively.

1998-2003

On April 18, 1998, Game Show Network bought back the rights to the Goodson-Todman library. In late 1998, GSN eliminated all of its Live programming. GSN replaced the live shows with in-show ads like Win TV. In 1999, the network began a slate of original programming, including Inquizition, All New 3's a Crowd and Hollywood Showdown. They also created original shows Extreme Gong (a remake of the classic Gong Show) and Burt Luddin's Love Buffet.

In 2000, the network faced another setback when they lost the rights to air The Price is Right. In 2001, a massive change in both leadership and programming to the network took place. Liberty Media acquired half of the network and changed the leadership. President Michael Fleming and Vice President Jake Tauber were both fired and former FOX Family president Rich Cronin was hired to head the network. He and incoming Vice President Bob Boden began the biggest original programming venture since the network's inception.

2003-2008

In Summer 2003, Game Show Network began airing GSN Video Games, the first program to air on the network that had nothing to do with traditional game shows. Although the show - a repackaging of somewhat dated British video game review shows (mostly Gamer.tv) - was short-lived and considered a disaster, it was a sign of the network's change of format from Game Show Network's "all game shows, all the time" to what eventually became "GSN: The Network for Games".

On March 15, 2004 at 10:00 PM, GSN stopped using the name "Game Show Network" on-air and introduced the tagline "The Network for Games", a move in line with the network expanding its programming to include the genre of reality television and various other competitions. (However, the entity's corporate name remained Game Show Network, LLC.)

The newly-renamed GSN also introduced the original series World Series of Blackjack, Celebrity Blackjack, Extreme Dodgeball, Poker Royale, and the short-lived Fake-a-Date, Vegas Weddings Unveiled, and Ballbreakers. GSN also added reruns of The Mole, Average Joe, Arsenio Hall's Star Search, Kenny vs. Spenny, and Spy TV - all of which were eventually removed from the schedule (though Kenny vs. Spenny was picked up for new episodes by Comedy Central in 2007).

Traditional game shows Win Ben Stein's Money and Street Smarts were also acquired around this time and aired in various time slots, though neither was regularly programmed as of mid-March 2008.

Blackjack and Poker Royale signified the beginnings of GSN's attempts to cash in on the TV poker-craze at the time. In 2006, GSN introduced High Stakes Poker, a poker show with a private-game format among professional players, and also programmed additional series of World Series of Blackjack and a spinoff, Celebrity Blackjack. One of the most popular shows from the initial TV poker boom, the World Poker Tour, was slated to move from the Travel Channel to GSN on March 24, 2008.

Within a year after GSN's revamp, GSN has primarily began returning its focus to studio-based game shows.

2008–present

On February 25, 2008, GSN returned live television games and debuted GSN Live, a live interactive call-in show, hosted by Heidi Bohay and Fred Roggin. The show was similar in format to Club A.M., a former Game Show Network program, and aired weekdays from 12pm-3pm Eastern/9am-12pm Pacific during breaks between the programming line-up at the time. The show featured calls from viewers, interviews with classic game show hosts and behind-the-scenes features of game shows.

At three separate points in each day, interactive games were played with at-home contestants. Contestants could win anything from jewelry to GSN merchandise, or during one month-long contest, a new car.

Catch 21, a remake of the Wink Martindale-hosted game show Gambit, debuted in July 2008. The game combines questions with the casino game of blackjack. Alfonso Ribeiro hosts the program and is assisted by his co-host and dealer Mikki Padilla. The original producer of Gambit, Merrill Heatter, returned in the same capacity. In October of that year, a second season of Bingo America premiered with former Family Feud host Richard Karn as the new host and Diane Mizota as the co-host, replacing Patrick Duffy.

Other programs added to the network in 2008 included the syndicated version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (hosted by Meredith Vieira). Also in 2008, GSN aired Think Like a Cat, sponsored by Meow Mix cat food, hosted by Chuck Woolery.[5]

In March 2009, GSN removed Blockbusters, Card Sharks, Child's Play, Press Your Luck, What's My Line?, and To Tell the Truth from its lineup. These programs were replaced by Tom Bergeron's version of Hollywood Squares, Match Game PM, Password, The $25,000 Pyramid, and The $100,000 Pyramid.

On April 6, 2009, a new version of The Newlywed Game premiered with former Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson as the host. On that same date, the second season of Catch 21 premiered.

In Late 2009, GSN removed Password Plus, Super Password, Pyramid, Love Connection, 20Q and The Money List from their schedule. Dylan Lane's Chain Reaction, Richard Karn's Family Feud, I've Got a Secret and 1 vs. 100 were added to the schedule to replace those programs.

On January 14, 2010, Carnie Wilson Unstapled & Hidden Agenda premiered on GSN.

On January 25, 2010, Wheel of Fortune was removed from the schedule.

On March 4, 2010, Instant Recall premiered on GSN.

Coupled with some of these changes is an aggressive marketing campaign. GSN sent Ribiero on a promotional tour to local television stations to promote Catch 21, while they partnered with the ABC Television Network to create Play It Again! Game Show Reunion Week, a series of one-off episodes of classic game shows for the network's morning show, Good Morning America, in exchange for promotion of the September 2008 Play It Back programming blocks, which will feature marathons of game shows from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

GSN has also been using its old name "Game Show Network" in the past year. On press releases and on their new GSN Radio, the network is referred to as "GSN, The Game Show Network".

Programming

Original programming

GSN has also produced several original series. In the channel's early days, Club A.M. was a three-hour block consisting of five classic game shows, surrounded by thirty minutes' worth of interstitial trivia, interviews with game show producers, personalities, contestants and fans, and interactive call-in games, all hosted by Laura Chambers and Steve Day (which was also rerun in late night, with some new segments, under the title Late Night Games). Prime Games was a similarly formatted show aired weeknights and hosted by Peter Tomarken. Wide World of Games was a Saturday night block of four shows built around a common theme.

After a few years, these shows were replaced by Game TV (a half-hour interview show hosted by Nancy Sullivan and Dave Nemeth), Game World (which showed highlights of current game shows from around the world), and standalone 30-minute call-in games like Super Decades and Trivia Track. Later, the channel attempted a Gong Show remake called Extreme Gong (hosted by George Gray, in which the viewers could phone in their votes as to whether to "gong" acts off the air) and Throut And Neck (where viewers controlled video game characters with their phones). The network also programmed Burt Luddin's Love Buffet, a combination of scripted scenes and a Newlywed Game-esque "game show-within-a-show". But all these efforts were eventually canceled and removed from the network's schedule.

Traditional game show offerings since 2000 have included Hollywood Showdown, All New 3's a Crowd, Mall Masters, Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck, Friend or Foe? (a game based around the Prisoner's Dilemma), Russian Roulette, WinTuition, Cram, and National Lampoon's Funny Money. The most successful GSN original game was Lingo, a Chuck Woolery-hosted revival of the 1987-1988 Canadian format in which teams guess five-letter words in a combination of Jotto/Mastermind and bingo. The network produced six seasons of the show from 2002-2007.

Originals debuting in 2006 included PlayMania, a late-night call-in game that expanded from two to (at one point) six nights per week continuing until October 31, 2007; and a revival of the 1980s game Chain Reaction, which ended its run on June 9, 2007. That's the Question, Starface, and a revival of I've Got a Secret also debuted in 2006. Debuting in July 2007 were Camouflage, remade as a word game, and Without Prejudice?, a remake of a British show where five people decide which contestant would win $25,000 based in part on their responses to questioning. Debuting on August 4, 2007 was Grand Slam, a game show involving big winners from other shows, including Ken Jennings, John Carpenter, and Brad Rutter.

For 2008, a US version of a BBC game called How Much Is Enough? debuted on January 8, hosted by actor Corbin Bernsen, and then in April, Bingo America made its debut with Patrick Duffy of Dallas and Step by Step fame as host. On July 21, as somewhat of a tie-in with the movie 21, Merrill Heatter returned to game-show producing with Catch 21 (a revival of the 1970s game Gambit) hosted by actor-singer-dancer Alfonso Ribeiro with actress Mikki Padilla as the dealer. GSN also relaunched a live interactive call-in interstitial series by premiering GSN Live, which airs during commercial breaks between 12 PM and 6 PM Eastern Monday through Friday. Originally the series took place over a three-hour span, with KNBC sports anchor and NBC Sports contributor Fred Roggin and actress Heidi Bohay hosting the interstitial segments. Later in the year GSN expanded the series to the six hours it has now, with Roggin moving to the 3 PM to 6 PM block with Kelly Packard while Alfonso Ribeiro replaced him earlier in the day. Packard was forced to leave her position shortly after taking it, and Roggin has hosted with a guest host until May 15, 2009 when Debra Skelton was chosen to be a permanent co-host as of May 26. Roggin was forced to leave GSN Live on July 2, 2009 in order to concentrate on his new game show The Money List. Alfonso was forced to leave GSN Live on August 11, 2009 in order to concentrate his new job, as well as Catch 21.

Also in 2009, The Newlywed Game returned to the air on GSN, this time with Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson as host. In June, GSN premiered its Big Saturday Night live interactive show block, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key of MADtv, Ross Matthews of The Tonight Show, and Charissa Thompson of Fox Sports. The three-hour block features a variety of games, such as identifying pictures. Included in the block are 20Q, hosted by Cat Deeley of So You Think You Can Dance and featuring the voice of actor-comedian Hal Sparks as "Mr. Q"; and The Money List, hosted by Fred Roggin of GSN Live. An upcoming series, Instant Recall, hosted by Wink Martindale, will premiere on March 4, 2010.[6]

Specials

The network has run blocks of classic game shows on Saturday nights, and for the first few months of 2006 programmed back-to-back episodes of Match Game in a block billed as That '70s Hour (a pun on That '70s Show), which showed the original production slate before each episode as well as Match Game trivia and brief clips of an interview with host Gene Rayburn produced shortly before his death. Although production slates had been aired by the network prior to this, "That '70s Hour" was the first time the network intentionally did so.

During the Summer of 2006, the network began a special seven-week run of The 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time.

In November 2006, GSN started a series of eight documentaries about game shows, beginning with a program on Match Game titled Behind The Blank. Other subjects included game show producer Chuck Barris, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, a "Top Ten" countdown of game show hosts, memorable game show moments, women who have featured prominently on game shows, celebrities and how they impacted game shows, and an insider's guide to winning on a TV game show.

One particularly interesting subject was the installments of Press Your Luck in which Michael Larson won more than $100,000 in cash and prizes by memorizing the sequences of the board then used, which was the subject of Big Bucks: The "Press Your Luck" Scandal. Peter Tomarken, who had hosted Press Your Luck, hosted and narrated this documentary in 2003. The documentary became Game Show Network's most watched show ever (a title it still holds) scoring a 1.7 at one time during the show.

In 2007, the network debuted two new specials: the National Vocabulary Championship, with a show airing on April 15, 2007 showcasing the first year of the event, and a broadcast of the Cat Fanciers' Association International Cat Show, Catminster.

In November 2008, GSN and Meow Mix presented a special entitled Think Like a Cat, hosted by Chuck Woolery, with a top prize of $1,000,000, one of the few times a game show on cable TV has had that amount as a grand prize.

Syndicated programming

GSN's rerun programming comes primarily from two sources: FremantleMedia and GSN parent company Sony.

Before Liberty Media purchased 50% of the network, GSN had unlimited access to the game shows owned by Sony Pictures subsidiary Columbia TriStar Television. Once Liberty purchased their stake in the venture, Sony began charging licensing fees for their shows, despite their half ownership of the network.

From Fremantle, the network licenses Match Game (all except 1983-1984 and 1998-1999), Family Feud (all except the 1999-2002 seasons), and Password (all except Million Dollar Password). Until March 2009, GSN licensed the entire Mark Goodson-Bill Todman library. During two weeks in December 2009, GSN picked up the rights to I've Got a Secret again for a limited return.

In the network's infancy, GSN regularly showcased vintage Goodson-Todman game and panel shows from the 1950s and 1960s, many of which were either originally broadcast or only preserved in black-and-white - such as What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth, Beat the Clock, and others. These classic shows made up much of the channel's lineup at the outset, but have been gradually cut back in prominence since the late 1990s. On October 1, 2006, only What's My Line? had a regular spot on the schedule, late Sunday/early Monday at 3:00 AM Eastern; it was followed by a selection from various 1950s-1970s Goodson-Todman shows, usually another panel game. On December 31, GSN reinstated the Black and White Overnight to 7 days a week at 3am-4am, showcasing What's My Line? and I've Got a Secret in the block; other shows, including Choose Up Sides, The Name's the Same, and the Bud Collyer-hosted primetime version of To Tell the Truth have been featured, with the latter currently airing following What's My Line?. GSN cancelled Black and White Overnight, effective March 31, 2009.

GSN, in addition to its Goodson-Todman library, features shows from other companies:

GSN also airs or have aired the Sony Pictures library programming from the following examples:

In October 2003, GSN acquired the rerun rights to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (from Disney-ABC Domestic Television) and have added more episodes since, including the Super Millionaire spin-off in Spring 2005 and the Meredith Vieira-hosted syndicated series in Fall 2008.

Among the most well-known classic game shows previously aired regularly on the network, other than Price - The Joker's Wild, Tattletales, Hollywood Squares, The Dating Game, and various versions of Pyramid. Some of these shows still continued to be aired occasionally as part of special events, such as Dick Clark's Pyramid in honor of New Year's Rockin' Eve on December 31.

The Price Is Right

The Price Is Right, Goodson-Todman's longest-running game show, did not appear on GSN until December 1996. Episodes that featured fur coats or other animal-related prizes were not aired, following Bob Barker's animal-rights wishes. The show's GSN premiere was delayed almost two years in order to remove such episodes from the rotation. The show originally appeared on GSN in occasional preemptions of regularly scheduled series such as Match Game or Family Feud and earned a regular spot just ten months before the network's "Dark Period".

Various versions of the show were broadcast, specifically those hosted by Barker, Bill Cullen, and Tom Kennedy (plus one episode sub-hosted by 1972-1977 nighttime host Dennis James, aired on the day of his death in 1997). In December 1996, Price began airing regularly on the schedule, with half-hour Barker shows in the morning and hour-long episodes in the afternoon and evening, Kennedy shows in late-night and the Cullen version as part of what was then billed as "Sentimental Sunday". No episodes from either the 1972-1980 syndicated version aired during this time, mostly due to Barker's fur ban. Additionally, no episodes from the 1994 Doug Davidson-hosted version aired on GSN.

GSN's contract to air Price expired in April 2000 and has not been renewed since. Most Price reruns are held not entirely by FremantleMedia, but also through CBS Television Distribution, as CBS currently licenses the American Price franchise from Fremantle. GSN would have to pay royalties to both CBS and Fremantle to gain the rights to the show.

See also

Notes

External links








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